KAL Yarns

by stephen on May 21, 2014

Penelope Craft in Amsterdam is generously donating yarn for 4 lucky winners to knit one of this summer’s KAL shawls! Go to the Summer Shawl KAL group on Ravelry and enter to win one of the yarny prizes.

I went to the shop yesterday to pick out my favorite color combos for the giveaway and now I want to cast on a dozen new shawls! Here are the 4 prizes…

#1 Lumpy Space

3 colors of BC Garn Tussah Tweed & 1 skein of BC Garn Soft Silk.

These are all silk yarns with wonderful rusticity and softness. There’s enough yardage for the white Soft Silk to be the color C center diamond and you can choose where the other 3 colors go.

#2 Vertices Unite (Large)

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light – Edison Bulb & Whitewash
Malabrigo Sock – Natural
Baa Ram Ewe Titus – Coal & Yorkstone

This is my personal favorite shawl and I think the bright yellow and cool blue will make a beautiful summer shawl together with those neutrals.

#3 Vertices Unite (Small)

Quince & Co. Tern – Beach Glass, Kelp, Stonington, Driftwood
Quince & Co. Chickadee – Egret

#4 Smooth Move (DK version)

Filcolana Gotlandsk Pelsuld
Color A – Dark Gray
Color B – Medium Gray
Color C – Light Gray
Color D – Yellow

Head over to the giveaway thread in the Ravelry KAL group here for a chance to win one of these yarn prizes. All you have to do is purchase one of the KAL shawls or the Summer Shawl KAL e-book and post once in the giveaway thread.

Most of these yarns are available to order on Penelope Craft’s website and if you’re in the area you can pop into the shop for even more Summer Shawl KAL yarn ideas. I couldn’t resist taking photos of my favorite shawl yarns in the shop and putting together some other inspiring color palettes.

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light is one of my favorite go to shawl yarns and there’s still a healthy stock of it at the shop.

I always recommend Malabrigo Sock for shawls because it was one of the first yarns I used for knitting shawls like Daybreak and Herbivore, very soft and drapey.

A huge shipment of Quince & Co. recently arrived so the walls are stuffed with a wide range of colors. Tern, Finch, and Chickadee would all be great substitutions for the Summer KAL shawls.

Quince & Co. Finch for Lumpy Space or add a fifth color for Vertices Unite

Quince & Co. Tern for Vertices Unite

or blue shades of Tern for Smooth Move

All colors of Baa Ram Ewe Titus are in stock.

Here are a couple summery palettes that would make a beautiful Lumpy Space shawl.

For a summery silk shawl, there is BC Garn’s Tussah Tweed in beautifully rich colors.

And my personal favorite new yarn in the shop is the the Gotland wool from Filcolana, Gotlandsk Pelsuld. It’s a DK weight wool with TONS of colors so it’s perfect for making gradient color combos for the Smooth Move shawl.

I hope my favorite picks from Penelope Craft gave you some color inspiration. Have fun making your own Summer Shawl color combos and don’t forget to share your yarn choices in the Summer Shawl KAL group!


Summer Shawl KAL

by stephen on May 18, 2014

It’s time for a new Westknits KAL, summer style!

I whipped up 3 new patterns and 2 variations of each design (in size, yarn, or color). All 3 patterns will be released Monday, May 26 which will be the official start date of the KAL. Join the Westknits Summer Shawl KAL group on Ravelry to share yarn ideas and progress on your shawl(s).

The KAL is super simple. All you have to do is…

1) Pick 1 of the 3 new KAL shawls (or 2 or 3).
2) Knit your heart out.
3) Share your progress and finished projects with knitting friends around the world in the friendly KAL forums here.

You can purchase all 3 patterns as an e-book for $12 USD here or get your favorite shawl as in individual download for $6 USD.

Shawl #1 Smooth Move

Smooth Move is the easiest of the three shawls. It’s constructed with three short row sections in garter stitch with some additional edge increases. An I-cord find off finishes the border with a pop of color.

You can choose 4 colors of DK weight yarn like the gradated sample. I used Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca/Silk DK from Loop in London and Shibui Knits Alpaca DK in the Jumpsuit colorway from Knit Purl in Portland, OR. Follow the links for more colors of those scrumptious yarns.

Smooth Move also includes yardage amounts for a smaller (but still large and in charge) fingering weight striped version.

Each of the three short row sections can be striped instead of solid for a cool graphic look. I used yarns from my stash like BC Garn Semilla (technically a DK weight, but it works in this shawl), Bart & Francis Alien Fantasy (a latex/cotton/linen blend), Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, Malabrigo Finito, and Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering – BFL (the black and white variegated & the pink/orange/gray variegated).

Shawl #2 Lumpy Space

Lumpy Space has more construction details going on so if you’re looking for more of a challenge then this is the shawl for you.

It’s similar to Color Craving from last year’s mystery shawl KAL with the big yarn over holes that give the illusion of short rows. You begin with the two center striped shapes followed by a diamond that is knit while being attached to the other pieces. Then, a final thick striped border is knit in the round. A picot bind off gives a nice delicate finish to the unique elongated shawl shape.

I used mostly non-commercial yarns for this peachy version. The gray is a handspun mohair from a cute shop called The Handspinner Having Fun on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The vibrant pink is mohair/merino from a small goat farm in the Netherlands. I also used Anzula Oasis from Fancy Tiger Crafts for the beige diamond. If you’re looking for yarns in a similar pale palette I recommend Anzula luxury fibers or The Fibre Company Road to China Light, Canopy Fingering, or Meadow.

Lumpy Space is written in one size, but I included another color sample with more saturated tones.

I used Rowan Fine Tweed striped with Brooklyn Tweed LOFT for the two center striped sections. I love the self-striping effect of Noro Silk Garden 4 ply in the center diamond and I striped Noro with another LOFT color for the border.

Shawl #3 Vertices Unite

Vertices Unite is a playful geometric shawl exploration filled with fun shaping techniques and lots of color. Increases, decreases, and short rows form the simple shapes. Each section is picked up and knit from the last section or worked as it is being joined to the other pieces like a puzzle so it is completely seamless.

It uses 5 colors of fingering weight yarn. This large sample includes Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, A Verb for Keeping Warm Floating, and The Fibre Company Road to China Light. These are 3 of my favorite yarns and together they make one of my new favorite shawls. I love the radiant colors and incredible drape and softness.

The super large asymmetrical triangle is a great layer for cool summer evenings and you can wrap it several times when it gets colder this fall and winter.

There is a smaller size variation for this pattern shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, Skein Top Draw Socks, and Malabrigo Sock.

I hope you will join the Summer Shawl KAL fun!

Photography and makeup by Alexandra Feo. I’ll share more photos and behind the scenes details from the shawl photoshoot soon.


Crazy for Color – The Sweaters

March 14, 2014

I long for a day when I have as many handknit sweaters as shawls. I’ve knit hundreds of shawls within the last 6 years or so and I have about 80 still in my possession. My sweater stash looks sad in comparison to my overflowing shawl shelves and drawers. The Crazy for Color collection allowed […]

Read the full article →

Crazy for Color – The Accessories (and pants!)

March 12, 2014

I just completed a new e-book called Crazy for Color! It’s a collection of 10 new garments and accessories focused on playing with color and mixing different yarns and fibers together. You can access the whole collection for $20 USD Two of the first designs use 2-color brioche. I quickly became obsessed with this cushy […]

Read the full article →

Swants Tutorial

November 4, 2013

The time has come for Swants aka Sweater Pants! Your booty deserves to be just as warm as your torso so here is a step by step tutorial to transform woolly sweaters into sassy pants. Selecting a Sweater Don’t spend too much money on your first couple pairs of swants. You will be cutting and […]

Read the full article →

Protected: Knit to the Music

October 28, 2013

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Read the full article →

Dear Amsterdam Patterns

September 10, 2013

There are four new patterns available on Ravelry in the Dear Amsterdam collection. The third and final shawl is an orange beauty called Hoek which means “angle” or “corner” in Dutch. Hoek is a top down shawl that uses about 725yds of DK weight yarn. I picked the most delicious shade of orange from my […]

Read the full article →

Dear Amsterdam

September 3, 2013

I just released a new e-book collection on Ravelry called Dear Amsterdam and the first two shawl patterns are available now. It will feature over a dozen new knitting and crochet patterns from Malia Mather, Alexandra Feo and myself. We all come from different places, but we’ve adopted Amsterdam as our home so we’re excited […]

Read the full article →

Noordermarkt Outfit

September 2, 2013

One of my favorite things about being in Amsterdam is visiting the Noordermarkt on Monday mornings. It’s a lively flea market with countless treasures waiting to be found. I usually find at least one special something that strikes my fancy each time. Today, I found several special somethings! This 100% wool houndstooth shirt was hanging […]

Read the full article →

Spring/Summer Recap 2013 Part 6

September 1, 2013

The last summer trip took me to one of my favorite places in the world, Reykjavik! I tagged along with Ragga and StevenBe on another one of Ragga’s fabulous Knitting Iceland tours. We shopped in the city and ventured outside Reykjavik to some natural wonders and yarny destinations. The cashmere goat farm is always one […]

Read the full article →